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Game of the Month Game of the Month January - Scapegoat

Game of the Month January - Scapegoat

scapegoatScapegoat is a bit different from the interpersonal Blame game, in that when leaders scapegoat, they do so to avoid taking the heat for an organizational program that is in trouble (rather than as a way to target an internal rival). Many times, managers set up consultants as scapegoats, communicating that a project’s demise or a strategic misstep was the fault of a consultant who was involved with it in some way.
Example:  A productivity program was successful (in the sense that the target numbers were exceeded) but hugely unpopular in a global consumer goods organization. One of the Big Five consulting fi  rms had been brought in to orchestrate the program. The CEO was happy to take the savings the program produced, but he was not willing to accept responsibility for how the program hurt morale and resulted in the loss of some key personnel. As a result, the CEO fi  red the consulting group, maintained that their recommendations resulted in the morale problems, and hired another consulting group to investigate the “misdeeds” of the first one. 

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Games of the Month

Token Involvement

To play Token Involvement, a manager conducts opinion surveys, focus group, or involvement meetings to communicate that "your opinion matters", but these activities are done only to make people feel involved rather than actually to involve them. The real intention is just to get rid of the complaints and for managers to show their management that they´re doing the "right" thing-involving their people in the decision-making process. The same game is played when leaders involve their direct reports supercially, soliciting their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on their views on department strategy but relying exclusively on thei own view. Cynicism becomes employees´ultimate response to this game, and they lose respect for management. Perhaps evens worse, when management really needs employees to be committed and contribuing to a major project, they have great difficulty securing this involvement.


Praise for Games at Work

jacopoA terrific read not only for senior leaders and executives but also for employees seeking growth in complex organizations. Goldstein and Read dissect the interpersonal dynamics that affect a company’s performance, provide a framework to understand the games that are commonly played in businesses around the world, and offer practical tools to correct these behaviors and improve the organization’s effectiveness.

Jacopo Bracco Executive Vice President DIRECTV Latin America

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